THE POSTMAN—At Twentieth Century-Fox Studios reported that Don Ameche’s fan mail was running only slightly behind Shirley Temple’s and Production Chief Darryl F. Zanack realized that the moment of Ameche’s stardom was at hand.
Mr. Zanack’s sleek. Valentinesque recruit from radio had been given a strenuous apprenticeship at Twentieth Century. Five hours after his arrival in Hollywood he went to work in a windy problem movie called “Sins of Man” Next he supported Loretta Young in Ramona, a trio of beauties in “Ladies in Love,” was the shadowy romantic background for Sonja Henie’s figure scating in “One in a Million” and dropped to a villainous foil for Tyrone Power in “Love Is News.”
“Fifty Roads to Town.” and “It Happend One Night” sort of farce, coming Saturday to the Palace, throws Mr. Ameche on his own. Although cofeatured with Ann Sothern, the piece was tailored primarily for him.
Movie fans, who presumably are also radio listeners, were surprised to see the ingratiating juvenile persona that went with the mature, resonant voice of the “Empire Builders”‘ and “First Nighter” broadcasts.
For six years Ameche bent over microphonss to give vocal impersonations of charactecs from 16 to 60. To the Screen now he brings a versatile, shaded vocal delivery and an articulate speed of speech that may be his distinguishing characteristic.
Many Alma Maters
Don Ameche was bora in Kenosha, Wis, less than thirty years ago as the son of an Italian, barkeeper. Adventurous and unstable, he lost out of Columbia (Iowa) University. Marquette, Georjgetown and the University of Wisconsin in rapid succession. He joined a stock company as an actor, succeeded to leading roles within a week, joined Texas Guinan’s vaudeville unit and went to NBCs Chicago studios for a job when he heard what radio was beginning to pay.
He called. himself, Italian style, “Ah-mee-kee” until illterate radio annoancers popularized “Ah-mee- chee,” which pronunciation is now official.